Egyptian Police Hammers Pro-Morsi Demonstrators

By: Assoicated Press
By: Assoicated Press
Police in Cairo used armored trucks and bulldozers to sweep away the encampments used by supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi.

Egyptian security forces clear a sit-in by supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in the eastern Nasr City district of Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013. Egyptian security forces, backed by armored cars and bulldozers, moved on Wednesday to clear two sit-in camps by supporters of the country's ousted President Mohammed Morsi, showering protesters with tear gas as the sound of gunfire rang out at both sites. (AP Photo/Ahmed Gomaa)

CAIRO (AP) -- Egyptian security officials and state television say several wanted Muslim Brotherhood leaders have been arrested after troops stormed a protest camp of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.
The officials say police detained senior Brotherhood leaders Mohammed el-Beltagy, Essam el-Erian, group spokesman Ahmed Aref and its chief theologian Abdel-Rahman el-Bar.
Also captured is hard-line cleric Safwat Hegazy, who is close to the Brotherhood.
El-Beltagy, el-Erian and Hegazy are wanted by prosecutors to answer allegations of inciting violence and conspiring to kill protesters calling for Morsi's ouster.
The five were arrested shortly after police completed its control of the camp in Cairo's eastern Nasr City district.
Riot police backed by armored vehicles, bulldozers and helicopters Wednesday swept away two encampments of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, sparking running street battles elsewhere in Cairo and other Egyptian cities. At least 149 people were killed nationwide, many of them in the crackdown on the protest sites.
Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and pro-reform leader in the interim government, resigned in protest over the crackdown as the military-backed leadership imposed a monthlong state of emergency and nighttime curfew.
Clashes broke out elsewhere in the capital and other provinces, injuring more than 1,400 people nationwide, as Islamist anger spread over the crackdown on the 6-week-old sit-ins of Morsi supporters that divided the counrty. Police stations, government buildings and Coptic Christian churches were attacked or set ablaze.
The assault to take control of the two sit-in sites came after days of warnings by the interim administration that replaced Morsi after he was ousted in a July 3 coup. The camps on opposite sides of the Egyptian capital began in late June to show support for Morsi. Protesters -- many from Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood -- have demanded his reinstatement.
The violence drew condemnation from other predominantly Muslim countries, but also from the U.N. and the United States, which said the crackdown will only make it more difficult for Egypt to move forward.
The smaller camp was cleared relatively quickly, but it took hours for police to take control of the main sit-in site, which is near a mosque that has served as the epicenter of the pro-Morsi campaign.
Police dismantled the main stage of the lager camp near the Rabaah al-Adawiya Mosque in the eastern Cairo district of Nasr City, the official MENA news agency said. An AP reporter saw hundreds of protesters leaving the sit-in site carrying their personal belongings.
Smoke clogged the sky above Cairo and fires smoldered on the streets, which were lined with charred poles and tarps after several tents were burned.
In imposing the state of emergency, the government ordered the armed forces to support the police in restoring law and order and protect state facilities. The nighttime curfew affects Cairo and 10 provinces.
The Egyptian Central Bank instructed commercial banks to close branches in areas affected by the chaos, a sign of alarm that the violence could spiral out of control. The landmark Giza Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum also were closed to visitors for the day as a precaution, according to the Ministry of Antiquities.


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